FINANCE

Alliance renews agreement with The Buckle

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems announced it has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue providing private label credit card services to The Buckle, Kearney, Neb., which operates more than 430 stores in 43 states, as well as a robust e-commerce business.

Buckle cardholders will continue to earn "B-Reward" points with every purchase. Exclusive to cardholders, the B-Rewards points-based loyalty program allows cardholders to accumulate points that can be redeemed for dollars-off certificates for in-store or online purchases.

Additionally, Alliance Data will continue providing mobile acquisition services, enabling customers to apply for a Buckle credit card via mobile device.

Founded in 1948, Buckle posted annual net sales of $1.06 billion in fiscal 2011. The Buckle has been an Alliance Data client since 1995.

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FINANCE

Macy’s Q4 up 12%, tops Street

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Macy’s net income in the three months ended Jan. 28 rose a better-than-expected 12% to $745 million as the chain, buoyed by strong holiday and online sales. The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters.

“We have more than doubled our earnings over the past three years, driven by innovative strategic initiatives that are being executed with discipline at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Our diluted earnings per share, adjusted for certain items, grew by 36% in fiscal 2011, on top of double-digit increases in each of 2009 and 2010,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s.

Revenue climbed 5.5% to $8.72 billion in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales increased 5.2%.Online sales, which include results from both the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s websites, jumped 40%.

Analysts said that Macy’s used promotions to attract shoppers during the holiday season, but did not make the mistake of some others retailers in that it did not cut prices too deeply.

“Our year was punctuated with a terrific holiday selling season as our customers responded to our assortment of most-wanted merchandise for gifts and self-purchase, as well as compelling marketing campaigns," Lundgren said.

Analysts said that Macy’s was able to successfully using promotions to lure shoppers during the holiday season without cutting prices too deeply.

For the year, Macy’s earned $1.26 billion, up from $847 million in the previous year. Full-year revenue rose 5.6% to $26.41 billion from $25 billion. Online sales rose nearly 40%. Same-store sales increased 5.3%.

Lundgren said that Macy’s online business will generate about $2 billion in sales in 2012.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart Stores’ profit falls 4.2%, but U.S. sales on the rise

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit dropped 4.2% on higher costs, but its U.S. business continued to draw in more shoppers.

Net income was $5.16 billion in the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with $6.05 billion in the year-ago period.

Net sales, excluding membership fees from its Sam’s Club division, rose 5.8% to $122.3 billion. International sales rose 13%, and U.S. sales rose 2.4%.

The company’s namesake U.S. business had a 1.5% in same-store sales, its second consecutive quarterly gain. The company noted that it saw an increase in customer traffic, reversing more than several years of declines in customer counts.

“We are pleased with Walmart¹s earnings performance for both the fourth quarter and the full year,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO. “Today, every segment of our business is stronger than it was a year ago, and we’re in a great position for fiscal year 2013.”

Duke said Walmart would continue to lower prices in the coming year and that positive trends will continue.

“Core customers remain cautious about their finances,” he said. “They rely on Walmart’s [everyday low price] promise to help them manage through today’s economic challenges.”

For the year, Walmart¹s sales increased 5.9% to $443.9 billion. During the year, Walmart added 119 supercenters and 27 small formats for a total of 9.6 million new sq. ft.

In 2012, between 210 and 235 new units are planned with 80 to 100 of those being small formats, primarily Neighborhood Markets.

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